WHO: Memphis Grizzlies (18-11, 11-6 home) vs. Boston Celtics (15-12, 9-7 away)
WHEN: 7:00 PM CT
WHERE: FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee
HOW TO WATCH/LISTEN: Fox Sports Southeast/92.9 FM ESPN Memphis
MEMPHIS - Jarell Martin (Probable, Foot), Chandler Parsons (Questionable, Knee), Deyonta Davis (Out, Foot), Brandan Wright (Out, Ankle)
BOSTON - Gerald Green (Questionable, Hip)
MEMPHIS - Mike Conley, Tony Allen, Troy Williams, JaMychal Green, Marc Gasol
BOSTON - Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder, Amir Johnson, Al Horford
After a tough loss to the Utah Jazz, the Memphis Grizzlies are surely excited to get back out on the floor and try to right the wrongs of that contest. Memphis couldn’t make a basket to save their lives in that game, and that cold shooting has now hurt them the past two games. Defense remains where the Grizzlies hang their collective hats, but if you can’t put the ball in the basket you’ll have a hard time winning against anyone.
The Boston Celtics arrive in Memphis starting to get healthy themselves. Isaiah Thomas and Al Horford have both missed time over the past month or so, but they have returned to the Boston lineup and are looking promising as a tandem. The two scored 40 points on 16-30 shooting Sunday against the Miami Heat while dishing out 12 assists- eight of them coming from the big man Horford! The Celtics as they get healthy and play more together will only improve, and have a run through the Eastern Conference in their sights.
It will be a challenge for the Grizzlies tonight. How can they use home court and get a win over a good Boston team?
- Conley Must Shine- Mike Conley’s health has been the subject of Grizzlies conversation for years now. The most recent part of that focus is whether or not Mike came back too early from his back injury. The past two games have not been friendly to Conley- two losses, two bad shooting nights for “Captain Clutch”. He was 3-16 against the Jazz, and 2-7 against the Kings this past Friday. That will not cut it against Isaiah Thomas, who is averaging 26 points per game. He has to get back to close to what he was pre-injury.
- Convert From Range- Sounds easy enough, right? For Memphis, making threes has really gotten a lot more difficult these past few games. The ice cold shooting (8.7% against the Jazz!!!) cannot continue if the Grizzlies want to keep up with a Boston team that shoots over 35% on three-pointers and takes over 30 of them a game.
- Possessions, Possessions, Possessions- The turnover battle will always be a key for Memphis. Always. They have to protect the ball offensively and create turnovers defensively to get as many offensive opportunities as possible. If your shots aren’t falling, you need more of them to try to find your stroke. Losing the ball with a bad pass or not playing passing lanes could doom Memphis tonight.
This is going to be a knock-down, drag-out affair. The Celtics have a big in Horford and a point guard in Thomas that can give both Marc Gasol and Conley issues potentially. If those two match-ups are potential washes (perhaps a wash is a win in Conley’s case), it may well come down to the Memphis bench to pull out this victory. Look for Vince Carter, Zach Randolph, and James Ennis to lead the charge as the Grizzlies pull out a squeaker.
Memphis 98, Boston 96